Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Just one more smile

It’s raining today, a steady rain, soaking into our dry, dusty soil. That’s a good thing and made me smile this morning because I’ve been pulling weeds for days (that’s how I know our soil is dusty) and husband has been hauling mulch around the yard for days too. Rain makes me smile because I don’t have to feel guilty not going out and doing more.

So I’m mostly sitting inside watching traffic go by and working on a set of four or five little paintings that will be headed to Norway.

But before I start those I did this one.

Isn’t it adorable?

I was weeding yesterday and pulled up an acorn that had sprouted a little oak tree. I thought it was so beautiful, so intricate yet so simple, that I brought it inside and put it in a glass of water so I could study it again. This morning I drew it and then colored it in — I smile every time I look at it.

And then I looked up from smiling at the little oak tree and saw this:

I think it’s the female orchard oriole, though I haven’t seen her before. She was very focused on what’s left of the oranges. Notice her proprietary foot on the fruit.

I took several pictures of her, at at one point the camera was collecting itself after a series of shots and when the shutter opened up again she was gone and in her place was this one:

This is the female baltimore oriole. She too was very focused on the fruit even though I put jelly in the feeder earlier in the day. Notice she’s standing on what’s left of an orange quarter.

And I made a note to self: Females eating in the pouring rain obviously know what’s better for them. They both focused on the bits of fresh fruit and ignored the sugar. Can’t say the same of the males who have spent all day eating jelly. Just saying.

OK. That’s four smiles for today. So far.

These make me smile too.


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Still mailing those smiles

It seems like I just wrote about the little water color paintings I’ve been doing and sending off each day. But when I look back I see it’s been a month, and in a month there’s been about 30 more little paintings.

Do you want to see some of them? I’ll be honest, I like looking at them, and sometimes it’s hard to mail them away.

But I hear back from most people that receive them, and so far the notes and paintings seem to be doing the job they were sent to do. They are making people smile.

Not every painting has been a success. There have been several failures, though sometimes I look at one of those and think maybe I can salvage it.

I think that especially on Sunday nights when I don’t have anything to mail on Monday. So far I haven’t missed a day and I don’t want to break my streak.

I’ve started doing something specific for people’s birthdays. I’ve even sent a few sympathy cards made from one of my paintings.

I have a few more ideas, but the momentum is slowing down. I planned on continuing this until life gets back to normal, but the reality is that normal is an unknown thing now and may always be.

In fact we may lose our entire summer to this stay at home order here in Michigan. Certainly there will be restrictions for the foreseeable future.

So maybe I’ll continue painting these. If you haven’t received one, please don’t be sad. It’s probably because I don’t have a mailing address for you. You’re welcome to send me an address and I’ll see what I can come up with!


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A note a day continues

A few days, or was it weeks ago, it’s so hard to keep track these days, I posted about mailing a letter to someone each day of this crisis. It was something to keep me busy and I hoped it would spread a few smiles around at the same time.

Well…it morphed into doing these little postcard-sized water colors and writing a note on the back of them. And that turned into such a fun thing that I look forward almost every day to sitting with my paints and snippets of paper. You never know what will emerge.

These have all been mailed to their new forever homes.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, these are not original images. I googled ‘simple water colors’ and found most of them. Then I use the images as inspiration. I have to say that what I end up with isn’t entirely like what I see on my laptop.

But I like them anyway!

They are all like my children, and each morning I pick one and mail it off to someone, hoping it will find a good home. Some are harder than others to let go, but the idea that I can go find more to paint is motivation to send them on their way.

This is the latest batch. I am stretching more, doing a lot of different things.

I think I’m getting more smiles out of this project than the people who receive them. After all, I get to see them all assembled together and I think they have more impact that way.

So I’m sharing them with you, because I can’t mail one to each of you, and this way you’ll get to see them all anyway!

I hope they made you smile!

Gotta watch out for those cats, they’re everywhere!


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Stretch

Some people, at the beginning of each year, pick a word they’d like to focus on for the next twelve months. Last year I picked stretch, hoping to remind myself as often as possible to try new things, keep an open mind, think about stuff in different ways.

I wasn’t always successful – this past year has been a challenge for me, especially in the open mind department. But I did do a lot of different things, traveled more than usual and tried to spend as much time as possible in my tent in the woods.

Now here it is February 1 and I don’t know what my word is for 2018. It hasn’t seemed to be a priority to me to figure one out. Or maybe it’s just that nothing has popped into my head. I guess I want the word choice to be easy without the more difficult analysis and deep thought that might well be required.

I guess I’m still stretching.

I took a water color class in January, four weeks, an hour and a half a week, held at our local community center just half a mile down the road. The last session was last night and I brought all my ‘projects’ home.

None are works of art, most aren’t even finished. The purpose of the class was to introduce us to different techniques used in water color, not to produce a stunning piece of frame-able art.

Good thing that wasn’t the goal.

Anyway, my purpose in talking about all this is to remind you (and me) to mix it up a little. Don’t worry your way through today the same way you worried your way through yesterday. Pause and take a moment to breath. Look for something fun to do, even if it’s only a few minutes a week.

Try something new. Make something pretty or interesting or sweet. Spend time with other people, share a laugh or a cookie or a pot of paint.

During these dark winter days spread a little color in your life and share it with us. We could all use the pick me up as we move toward spring.